Friday, October 15, 2021

History For The Short Attention Span Crowd

h/t tsk tsk should've known better

AKA "Don't pee on my head, and tell me it's raining."

A mere fraction of the Port Of Los Angeles

Once upon a time, there were four rich men. The were called nabobs. It was shortened to "nobs". They all decided to build lavish homes in the same neighborhood in San Franshitco (back when it was a bustling thriving nexus of commerce, rather than an open festering sore, open-air outhouse for the homeless, and running national joke), and all those homes on the same hill there. It is called Nob Hill to this day.

The four named themselves The Association, and were comprised of

Leland Stanford (former 8th governor of California, later U.S. senator from CA until his death, and Central Pacific and Southern Pacific RR president; you may have heard of a small private college he founded).

Collis P. Huntington (CPRR VP, director, and chief legal counsel, and whose nephew, who started the first inter-urban train transit  in SoCal himself, has a city in L.A., another city and beach in OC, and his lavish San Marino mansion and grounds all named after them).

Mark Hopkins (treasurer of the CPRR, the Trump of his day, and on the former site of whose mansion there's a landmark Frisco hotel that still bears his name).

Charles Crocker (railroad route chief engineer, and later financier, who once controlled Wells-Fargo and served as its president; he had a wee bank of his own once too; their commercials in my youth introduced the world to a struggling brother-sister singing act, before the bank was consolidated back into the Wells-Fargo financial empire).

Among the pasttimes of these rich kids, as noted above, was running a wee railroad, known as the Central Pacific Railroad.  The one that spanned the country by 1869. Later, it was consolidated with the Southern Pacific RR, at which point, in 1909, it connected the sleepy little nowhere cow-town of Los Angeles with the small wharves of San Pedro/Wilmington and Long Beach, the greatest natural harbors on the western coast of the continental U.S., after San Francisco Bay itself.

The sprawling openness thereabouts, however, with more open land all around than all of peninsulated San Franshitco County, allowed that by 1920, that Port (actually two adjacent ports) would surpass Frisco, and become the pre-eminent port of entry for the entire nation, remaining so unto the present day.

I provided copious links, because I'm a giver, and because You Could Look It Up.

We told you that story to tell you this one:

Railroad tracks run right to dockside in Los Angeles/Long Beach to the present day, a fact which makes fairytales about green truck mandates being responsible for the current goods bottleneck so recockulous as to cause open-mouthed gawping at the spectacle, and at the jackassery necessary to palm such a load of bullshit off as steak.

The fact that there are a finite number of berths, cranes, and longshoremen, with a commensurately predictable maximum number of containers that can be offloaded per hour, and thus a similarly predictable number of ships per day, expressable for one-, two-, and three-shift days, is rather tediously obvious to anyone who can do math with their shoes on.

You can't starve a python for nearly eighteen months, than suddenly try to feed it an entire herd of elephants, and expect that everything will proceed smoothly through from there.

This shouldn't have had to be said, yet here we are.

Just part of what's waiting to unload locally

There are, at latest reports, some multiple dozens (61 ships, per NYSlimes as of 9/21) of loaded container ships sitting offshore from just those twin SoCal ports.

The average container ship hauls between 500 and 7500 40' containers, or TEU equivalents (one TEU is a 20' conex, and container ships range from 1000 to 15000 TEUs of capacity).

The average freight train carries 200 and more 40- and 53-footers, apiece.

The average truck pulls one. A double trailer, with 53' boxes, could manage 2½.

Yet no one is squawking mountains of bullshit about how trains are backed up 97 deep trying to fit all the containers on them and pull them to points eastward, because that'd be patent horseshit.

And if picking up loads at the ports were really "the root cause", even a gifted dimwit would simply platoon the compliant trucks at the port, carry the containers from there a couple of miles from the port, to any one of hundreds of nearby SoCal truck yards, and transfer the loads to the millions of trucks that can't use the ports, but which nonetheless transport goods all over the rest of the Golden State 24/7/365, as anyone who's spent 5 seconds on the freeways hereabouts can attest; they would not haul the loads all the way to the motherfornicating Califrutopia state line, hundreds of miles away, FFS!

Conflating "port of" with "entire state" for the Fucktard Win!

The idea that there is any shortage of trailer trucks operating on California's highways, especially in the corridor from the Ports to every other interstate highway accessible from same is so recockulous as to fail the sniff test for 0.2 seconds with anyone who drives here for more than 5 minutes. But cleverly, they invented a heavy-duty workaround where truck traffic can be hauled entirely independent of the highways we drive on, at hundreds of times the capacity of a tractor-trailer rig, for 95% of every journey for every pound of cargo carried, and it's been around since the early 1800s. We called them railroads.

So please do some basic dumbshit math before trying to claim that lack of new compliant trucks is why nothing is moving through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as if that could ever be true, and pretending like they couldn't just get the containers straight onto railroad cars and ship them directly to 47 other states by the literal trainload, taking the trucks out of the equation entirely.

The entire pipeline is overfull; it's no more complicated than that. Pythons can't digest elephants overnight.

When containers are stacking up at 500 freight yards by the railroad tracks, you can tell me there's a truck problem. Not before. Not even in Califrutopia.

The bullshit passed by the idiots here in Excremento is big, and unquestionably stupid and short-sighted, but it isn't omnipotent, and it isn't the reason that they can't unload cargo any faster or get it to your local Dollar Store, so pull the handle on that sort of nonsense, and send it to the sewer it crawled out of, rather than passing it off as gospel.

And try shaving people's arguments with Occam's Razor.

Fucktards gonna fucktard, but you don't have to listen to them if you can do basic thinking.

Posers discuss strategy. Amateurs discuss tactics. Professionals discuss logistics. Geniuses learn all of them from history.

But maybe that little historical wander is why we keep telling you to look at history like James Burke does. Wheels within wheels, all spinning and interconnecting. The guy should be the chairman emeritus of History for the world, for life.

UPDATE: FAR more likelier explanations:

1) New transport regs making it harder for truckers to make a living, so they've gradually bailed out. Nobody notices the dog that doesn't bark until after the burglar's been and gone.

2) Jab mandates at rail and truck companies (see Winston Smith in Comments), playing hell with staffing. Wait until this becomes a longshoreman issue as well, and grab your ass then. You can't replace them, and without them, just like truckers and rail workers, literally NOTHING moves. The Vaxxholes are about to pee on the third rail. Grab your popcorn.

3) Paying @$$holes too much welfare for far too long to sit on their asses playing X-box instead of going out and getting hard and relatively dangerous transportation jobs.

4) Leaned-out (times 30 years) jackassical "just-in-time" port infrastructure, with no elasticity to ramp up or down for higher capacity imports or exports, let alone both simultaneously. You can send more ships, or trucks and trains, but you can't whistle up more docks, cranes, and operators overnight.

5) Anyone can stop an economy, or a car engine, by shooting a big enough bullet into the engine block. What you can't do is restart it just as fast, simply by grabbing pliers, and just pulling the slug out afterwards.

We repeat for emphasis: Anyone of even average intelligence should have known this without being told.

Which is why none of it occurred to any government, from city to state to federal, nor likely will ever. They're simply not packing the gear to grasp that.

STILL TL;DR? Read the concise analysis by Noveske's Rock, below. It's tight, right, and flawlessly reasoned.

One definitionof insanity is trying the same thing, over and over, despite the fact it doesn't work.


Anonymous said...

All I can say at this moment in time. The world is either being run by a bunch of fuckups or they are just fucking us over before they get rid of us.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that two of my neighbors own and manage logistics (aka shipping) companies. One is primarily a regional company, the other is actually HQ in CA and covers the whole country.

Both say they can't hire enough drivers to meet demand. So while I wouldn't be surprised that there are enough physical trucks to possibly catch up with demand, I also don't doubt that it doesn't matter because the drivers aren't there to actually operate them.

It's one piece of the puzzle of the current supply crunch, but it is a real problem.

Anonymous said...

Americans have been buying stuff the entire time. The "python eating the elephant" idea doesn't hold water because we never slowed down our purchases during the pandemic.
This line of excuse is typical among communists. The central planners that interfere with the economic system are blaming Americans for the collapsing system " 'cuz 'we just buy too much stuff her derr. " Greedy hoarding bastard 'trumptards"
Why aren't the containers being unloaded from the ships and placed onto the rail cars ?

Brian_E said...

As the saying goes:
Embrace the healing power of “AND”!

Winston Smith said...

I work for the large railroad that services these intermodal yards at the ports and I can say with the utmost confidence that y'all better buckle up and stock up on essentials (should have done so months ago) because the jab mandate the railroad just implemented will see at least thirty percent of transportation (train crews) and track maintenance personnel forced off the property for non compliance. We'll have to see if Leviathan blinks after that poke. :)

Stealth Spaniel said...

THIS is what happens when you overload a first century first class country with illegals and imported dimwits, drug addicts,and perverts.
THIS is what happens when you bleed a first class country with state-of-the-art welfare to sit on your ass and Netflix.
THIS is what happens when imbeciles pronounce themselves teachers and indoctrinate your child into believing their BS.
As I've said, went to work at a Big Box. We are literally out of toilet paper. We had to limit it to one 48 pack per member; and still they shopped daily for another 48 pack. Toilet paper, for God's sake, yet I bet none of them have water stored, nor a way to purify water. Talk about basics.....Why did NONE OF THIS GO ON when we were children? Because thinking ADULTS ran the country then. Great Uncle Willie didn't worry about being transgendered, keto-friendly, or Muh Political Party. He got his butt out of bed and went to work. And the world and the country prospered. We have become a country of losers unable to discern, separate,or judge. Diversity and all the stupid language with it has dumbed this country down. Laws and lawmakers have dumbed us down. (Don't start me on the D students in Sacramento) Shakespeare was correct: first kill all the lawyers.

Aesop said...

@Anon 8:04,
So trucking regulations have had essentially Jack and Shit to do with the inability to move cargo. They have more cargo to drive than they have drivers to haul it. They didn't e.g., say "If only we could find compliant trucks.

You wanna find a problem, look to truck driving regs, and paying layabouts too much money to sit for too long instaead of job-hunting, and not wanting to take on a hard and relatively dangerous job instead of sitting on their ass playing video games for government cheese.

@Anon 8:19,
Americans haven't been buying nearly as much stuff. Maybe you hadn't noticed the thousands of business closures, including multiple major chains, for the last 18 months. You should catch up; life moves pretty fast. This economy is not 2019's.
Maybe Google Chuck E. Cheese, Souplantation, GNC, JCPenney's, Sears, 24 Hr Fitness, Guitar Center, Pier 1, Neiman-Marcus, Gold's Gym, Hertz, Men's Wearhouse, and 300,000 financial obits of everyone's friends and neighbors running mom-and-pops on any Main Street, and then get back to us.
Those people aren't buying anything.
And what people did buy only drew down any overstock nationwide when everything, including shipping, was completely shut down for weeks and weeks.
Toilet paper shortages ring a bell?

-10 pts. for trying to slip in an ad hominem that doesn't even apply, and another -10 points for wooly thinking by trying to fit what I said into some narrative in your own head.

If you look even at the stock photo at the top of the piece, the rail cars are being unloaded onto rail cars. But they can't unload the ships that can't dock, because they're coming over and piling onto the backlog already extant.

When "just in time" ordering hits a freight pipeline run lean because of the exact "just in time" design times thirty years, the pipeline cannot accommodate increased demand. The ports are exactly that bottleneck. You can add ships, you can add trains, but you cannot add docks and cranes just by waving a wand. You're trying to fly a Smart Car simply by duct-taping wings onto it, and you can't even hit V1.

Don't quit your day job.

Embrace the healing power of calling bullshit, "Bullshit!"

Greer said...

Thanks for your work Aesop.

June J said...

I'm going with the idea that the jacktards in charge do understand what they've done and to them it's a feature not a bug.
"If we can't force them to vaccinate with mandates we'll starve them into submission."

#FWDC (Washington DC)
#FDF (Dr Fauci)

Unknownsailor said...

Active duty Army has some trained drivers, but I doubt that even drafting all of them into driving container delivery would make a dent.

It is abundantly clear that vast swaths of government are utterly incompetent, from the GS13 manning a desk in a local office all the way up to and including the President. I dont think anyone in DC really knows what is going on, and I'm also sure that anyone who does is being ignored, or is too low in status to do much of anything but scream into the abyss that is SES management.

The people who know how to do things are going to have to shove aside the useless and incompetent, at gunpoint if necessary, and many, many people will experience hardship the likes not seen since 1929.

I just hope we have enough competent people left to get us out of this hole, the education system has basically made it so competent people happen despite education, not because of it.

Anonymous said...

@ Aesop- You are very rude so I will not try to be polite in rebuttal. The system is collapsing because of onerous state and federal government regulation. The regulation may be green laws, OSHA laws or use COVID as an excuse but it is the onerous government regulation that is destroying the once well functioning system. You are parroting the typical Communist line that whatever the problem is it is, it is the fault of the people." You are just too stupid to realize you are arguing in favor of the communists.

Anonymous said...

To go along with your comment regarding the rich kids playing with railroads, there is this little known fact that Long Beach, at one time had a perfectly functioning mass transit system reliant on RR, to & from their ports, which is a huge part of the LA/LB port system, and running throughout the city. No one living within the city actually needed a car to get around the system was so efficient and convenient. Until the tire mfg's decided they needed to corner the city fathers and officials to put the kibosh to it because their trolley & RR system was cutting into their profits. And thats why today the city of LB only has a token trolly system.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, Aesop. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg has been on paternity leave since August. Give him a couple of days back in the office and he'll have this all fixed.

Opie Odd

Anonymous said...

There are backups everywhere. Anything shipped by FedEx that isn’t 2-day-air or faster to a major metro area is sitting in containers at their sorting stations for days or weeks. If you believe the reddit crowd (and in this case I do) it’s because they are short of bodies to unload the boxes from the containers.

The answer to this stuff is easy. If you pay people enough, you will find people to do your shitty jobs. If you pay less than companies with the same or mess shitty jobs, they will quit.

And stop paying extended unemployment now. There are plenty of jobs that pay more. They just aren’t as much fun as staying home and watching Netflix.

nicus said...

Maybe Winston Smith can comment, but could there be a problem getting sufficient railcars to the ports? Are there enough appropriate cars in inventory? Are they being used elsewhere in the network? Just wondering.

Barry L Plotz said...

OK, I get the argument being made but can containers actually just be plopped on railcars and sent to wherever, USA? Somehow I got the impression there's a process referred to as clearing customs, that can hang containers up as well. At least it sure gets used as an excuse for delays as in "sorry sir, that replacement barrel for your X-37 Space De-Modulator unit has been stuck in customs for the last month". Can you logistics folks comment on what, if any, delay is caused by the customs process?

5stonegames said...

Ya forgot number #6

Exhorting people to get hard will not work any more.

Simply, there are increasingly fewer guys who see a wife, kids, house and the American Dream in the future so the way things are there is no incentive to take hard jobs.

In any case those jobs pay about the same as less hard jobs and on top of that far too little for an apartment in say Long Beach (you need about 37.50 to qualify for a cheap studio) so why bother?

Young people have no capital and can't get any so they aren't going to put in the effort

As for truckers specifically ,a few years ago a few autonomous trucks came out and tech companies were crowing about automating the whole field. A trucker would just be a cargo hand at just above minimum wage . No one wants that so they didn't bother with the training and worker aging will take its toll. Sow, Reap

One last thing, its not welfare. States that ended that months ago still have labor issues.

I think J.M Greer can some it up better than I can . Its along and philosophical but if you can, read it.

TL;DR During the lock down a lot of people realized they are being screwed by the system and decided the way for them to win is not to play.

As far as a lot of people are concerned the entire social and economic system isn't on the briquet list but the nuke it from orbit list.

We deserve this and a lot more and we might just get it, so stock up whilst you can. Its gonna get spicy.

JustinR said...

The destruction of our economy is not an accident. All you have to do is listen to the WEF crowd and they tell us exactly what they plan to do. They will put the 25-30% of the skilled workforce that aren't blind sheep out of work. If you think things are bad now, wait until 25% of the airlines, railroads, aerospace industry, truckers, air traffic controllers, and 40% of the TSA (I know, I know) don't comply. And oh yea, half the cops in Chicagostan. This shit is JUST getting started.

Aesop said...

@Anonymous 10:43A,

You're none too bright yourself, so I'll try to use small words:

a) You didn't "rebut" anything I posted. Look up "gainsaying" in a dictionary. A dictionary is a book with the definitions of words. A book is a collection of pages bound together, usually on a similar topic. If this concept is still fuzzy, I cannot help you.

b) Nothing in the current transportation system is "collapsing because of onerous state and federal government regulation". All state and federal government regulation is onerous. It's been around for nearly 240 years, and onerous since the outset. And yet here we are.

c) The once well-functioning system never had to catch up, instantly, on 18 months' back work. It has little, if any, excess handling capacity built in. You can't put 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag, and then expect to get it for half price, no matter how hard you wish it were otherwise.

d) I didn't say anything about this being "the fault of the people", so blow your aspersions (you probably need to hit that dictionary again...) of Communism out your ass, if you can get it past your own head. It's the exact system of "just-in-time", that you think "worked", that was never designed to have any elasticity in it, that's failing. Exactly as one would expect.

e) You're too stupid to notice that I'm not arguing in favor of anything communist, rather than that I'm arguing in favor of not taking jackassical unsupported assertions with no basis in reality as gospel truth. You're also too stupid to read this blog, which explains why you fucked up comprehending this entire post, by the numbers. DLTDHYITAOYWO. Rest assured no one will miss you, and the average IQ of the commentariat will increase markedly with your absence. With the time you save not coming here, you should take a day for yourself, go back to your old high school, and punch each and every one of your former teachers that can be found squarely in the throat, for so abjectly failing to instill in you the ability to read a fairly straightforward essay with even a middling level of comprehension. Think of all the young lives you'll help with that one act. Even better, give serious consideration to a vasectomy, for the same reason.

Best Wishes in your future endeavors.

Noveske's Rock said...

I’ve coordinated air and ocean freight for 40 years. By necessity that means adjunct warehouses and trucking too. Logistics chains have multiple shifting choke points. If you tweak the system the pacing item changes but there is always some pacing item.

Re the Port of Los Angeles issue my opinion is that it is currently the pick time by the longshoreman. Normally it takes 90 seconds to identify the next container to move, pick it with the crane then move it to the chassis or rail car. For efficiency they then ideally pick an outbound container and place it on the designated spot on the ship for transit. 3 minutes per cycle per crane to offload/on load 1 TEU. The Port has 82 cranes. That suggests max capacity is shifting 1,640 units on/off per hour or or 39,360 per day running 24/7.

They aren’t running 24/7, equipment isn’t always spotted on time, sometimes containers are buried beneath through cargo, there are labor shortages and some crane operators aren’t as skilled as others. Plus allow for maintenance down time. In 2020 the Port moved 9.2 million TEUs or 25,205 per day.

Secondary pacing items are chassis shortages for truck drayage and rail car availability for loading. This is due to extended dwell times for loaded containers to be unloaded (due to warehouses being blown out due to labor shortages) and for empty / reloaded containers to be returned to the Port for outbound shipping. On dock dwell time for containers moving by rail is currently almost 12 days per cargo

On 9/28 CBS reported that the current number of containers on ships offshore waiting to be offloaded was over 500,000. If the Port shifted 25,000 cans per day it’d take 20 days to eliminate the backlog - but there would be another 25 days of ships arriving in the interim and this is peak shipping season.

Many other factors throw sand in the gears to reduce efficiency - lack of truck drivers, union work to rule issues, shifting government regulations, weather, COVID restrictions and finding warehouse staff that can pass a drug test. Short version - eliminating the backlog won’t happen easily or swiftly.

Aesop said...

Absolutely brilliant, sir! Thanks for doing the math.

Nota bene, Gentle Readers, how nowhere did anything Noveske's Rock just lay out lean on "green truck mandates" as any major part of a continuing problem for the ports, let alone naming it as "the root of the problem".

IOW, the knucklehead pointing at that in the referenced link is full of crap, and we got it right, just as we told you.

Anonymous said...

This may be a critical revelation or a memory fart, but wasn’t we warned back aways that a certain country was buying port facilities WORLDWIDE, including some major US ones?

Allen said...

Just about all of the rail traffic has to go up and over the Cajon Pass. You can only move so many loaded trains at a given rate through a fixed chokepoint. I don't care how fast you unload the ships and put the containers on railcars, if the trains are sitting at the siding waiting for their turn to go through the pass, well there you go.

Logistics is a many faceted problem, and for those who might not quite believe it there is an actual field of mathematics related to it. 'Tis amazing, people study and learn shit.

Aesop said...

COSCO's impact on the twin ports is fractional, at best.

And over half of the rail traffic comes and goes nowhere near Cajon Pass, instead taking the flatland route east from L.A. to Tucson and El Paso, after which it can go pretty much anywhere it likes.
And the pass consists of between three and up to five track lines, the entire way through.
Not one.

Another line runs northwest, and proceeds up the coastline, and another runs south the same way.

Google Earth is your friend.

There are a finite number of rail lines, as is true anywhere, but the idea that there is any one such rail bottleneck out of the L.A. area is a fantasy.

John Wilder said...

The fun part is the Left expecting .gov to solve this . . .